Learn this crucial move plus three muscle-sculpting variations that target your arms, back, and core.
Modification for Lower Back Pain
If you find yourself bowing through your lower back, feel any discomfort there, or just have trouble getting into the bent-over position, try this: Using a bench and one heavy dumbbell (try 12 pounds to start), place one knee on the bench and bend forward to place the same-side hand in front of you, directly under that shoulder (the knee should be right under the hip, too). Hold the dumbbell in the opposite hand, and row back with that one arm. Keep your shoulders square to the bench—don’t let yourself open up and twist as you pull back. You’ll want to stop moving the arm at the point where the shoulder wants to open up. And don’t forget to switch and do the other side. The same three reps of 10 applies here, grabbing heavier weights when an additional three would be a cinch.
Work Your Core
This version will really target the muscles in your core, especially your obliques. Get into position to perform the standard bent-over row withdumbbells, but this time just row one side at a time. Keep your core engaged to make sure your shoulders stay parallel to the floor and you’re not twisting your torso from side to side. One left and right equals a rep; do 10, repeating the set three times.
The Total-Back Challenge
Ready to make it even harder? Get your entire body horizontal for the renegade row. Set down two dumbbells on the floor and get into a plank position with your hands on the weight handles. Holding the straightest, flattest plank you can muster, row back with one arm; replace the weight on the floor, then row with the other arm. But here’s the crucial part: Don’t let your hips sway or twist from side to side as you row back and forth. This means your entire core and back need to be engaged for the whole move. Do three sets of 10 reps.